Knowing your body type can be a really important part of getting the results you want. Many times people are really gung ho to get started transforming their health and fitness. That’s great! I encourage and welcome that type of attitude, but the fact is, not every body is equal. Some of us seems to really struggle with losing weight while others struggle gaining. And then others sort of have the best of both worlds where gaining muscle and losing fat are relatively easy. But no worries! Regardless of which camp you fall into, there is a plan for you.
The Three Body Types
There are three main body classifications; ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. You might not fall completely into one of these three categories and are a combination of two. These different type require different training methods and diet. Let’s see what Bodybuilding.com has to say about these body types.
The endomoph body is often soft and round with a thick rib cage. Joints of endomorphs are generally wider or thicker and hips are usually as wide or wider than the clavicles. Endomorphs find it really easy to gain weight in the forms of muscule and fat, but have a hard time losing fat. The metabolism of an endomorph is generally slow. As far as nutrition is concerned, a low-carb, high-protein diet should be followed. Carbs should largely be limited to vegetables , oats and whole grains. White rice and white bread are definitely no-nos. To keep fat gain at a minimum, endomorphs must incorporate cardio in addition to weight training into their workout routine. This does not mean hours spent on the treadmill though. Interval-based cardio is the key for losing weight efficiently and effectively. In addition to interval-based cardio, weight training is definitely a must, because it continues to burn calories long after you are done, up to 72 hours of elevated burn. Heavy weight with low reps is recommended.
A pure mesomorph has a naturally athletic appearance and has the ideal body type for bodybuilding. Mesomorphs find it relatively easy to lose and gain weight which can be both good and bad. This body type is naturally strong and sports well defined muscles. They don’t gain weight as fast as an endomorph, but still faster than the ectomorph so cardio must still be incorporated into their routine. Body fat needs to be closely monitored because weight gains happen rather quickly. Mesomorphs can eat a good amount of carbs with suggested macro-nutrient ratios of 40% carbs, 30%protein, and 30%fat. Grilled chicken, avocados, and whole grain bread are staples in the mesomorphs diet. Once mesomorphs lose body fat, well defined muscles are seen due to natural muscularity. Mesomorphs see fast results when training, especially beginners, and respond well to fast-paced, intense training sessions.
This is the typical skinny, hard gainer physique. Ectomorphs have a fast metabolism which makes it really hard to gain weight. Typical physical characteristics include small bones/joints, long limbs, small shoulders, flat chest, and lean muscle mass. In order for ectomorphs to gain weight they need to eat massive amounts of calories. To the envy of endo and mesomorphs, ectomorphs do not have to steer celar of carbohydrates. A diet high in oats, sweet potatoes, and whole grains will support insulin levels to deliver protein to muscles for anabolism. Workouts for this physique should be short and intense. Workouts should also include compound movements such as squats and dead lifts to recruit more muscle groups. Also, ectomorphs should ditch long, drawn out sessions of cardio and only do a couple days of low intensity of cardio per week.
Determining your type
By now you should be able to tell which category(ies) you fit into and this is important for getting extreme results. You can also take this handy quiz on Bodybuilding.com.
This is one of my favorite times of year. The days start to get shorter. The air is cooler and crisper. The leaves start to change which makes for and awesome drive in the mountains of North Carolina. And let’s not forget, football is back in season (Go Steelers!). All in all, Fall is awesome, but there are some downsides also.
The Fall Slump
Everybody starts the new year with a determination and vigor to finally get the results they have been looking for. Sadly, many of those that start fall off the wagon with only a few sticking it out through the Spring and Summer. Then with the changing of the seasons it seems that we lose sight of how hard we worked in the Spring and Summer to get in tip top shape. It’s easier to hide in baggier clothes and jackets. Plus, the holidays are full of sweet treats. I dealt with this first hand after I got married. I had lost a total of 38 pounds from January 2012 to May 2012, but lost sight of where I was heading for the remainder of that summer. The rest of that year it was easy to put health and fitness on the back burner and just coast, but that was a huge mistake. One day I looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe how far I had backslid.
You have a choice…
Are you going to sit back and coast through the rest of the year? Or are you going to get out there and crush it? Sitting there thinking and wishing about being in shape won’t do anything for you. It takes effort. And not even that much. Here are a few tips to get you going this fall to carry you right on into 2015:
- Set goals – Fall is one of the best times of year to make new goals. That way, by the time the holiday season rolls around, you won’t be sidelined as easily.
- Make it fun – Get outside and enjoy the cooler weather with morning/evening walks or runs.
- Workout at home – This is a no brainer for us in the Fellowship of Fitness since we love Beachbody programs. The days get shorter and colder so working out at home is efficient and effective.
- Plan – Get a calendar and plan your workouts and meals for the week. Planning is key to success.
- Socialize – Get together with a friend to help boost your motivation and provide some accountability. I can always push harder when a friend is there to encourage me (and the competition is awesome).
- Indulge – Yes I said it. Indulge in your favorite seasonal treats every once in a while. Everything in moderation definitely works here. If it fits into your caloric and macro goals, then go for it. This has to be something you can continue in the future. I know I’ll be saving room for some pie when the holidays roll around.
- Don’t give up – When schedules get busier as the year comes to a close it’s easy to put health and fitness on the back burner, but you can really tell what you are made of when you stay consistent. Some of the most breakthrough moments happen when you stay consistent. Nothing solidifies your “why” like working out when everyone else would hang it up and call it a day.
- Join a Challenge Group – Now is a great time to set yourself up for success leading into the holiday season and on into 2015. Starting October 6th, we will be running the 30 Day Fall Fitness Frenzy. The group is open to anybody and everybody who is looking for motivation and accountability to get in phenomenal shape. Changing your health and fitness is a journey . . . But the best part is we’re all in it together!
Let me be the example. Don’t let the changing of the seasons throw you off. Think of how far ahead of those who are waiting until January to start if you keep up the hard work and crush the rest of this year!
Let’s BRING IT!
I get asked all the time what supplements I take and how they work. First off, there are about a million different supplements on the market and it’s easy to get confused. No worries though, I’m going to give you the ones that I am currently using and the reasons why.
Shakeology – First, I don’t really consider this a supplement because it replaces my breakfast everyday. It really is a meal in itself with its great blend of superfood nutrition. It really helps to reduce hunger, detox the body, increase energy, and help with digestions and regularity. I have been taking it for 2 years now and it has really helped me to get the results that I was looking for.
Whey Protein – We are in the business of building muscle and reducing body fat. That’s why I take whey protein daily in my post workout shake. I take it post workout with my Shakeology so that I can take advantage of the anabolic or muscle building window. Since I started my fitness journey I have tried many different brands of protein including Muscle Pharm, Optimum Nutrition, Dymatize, and Cellucor. It’s easy to get confused as to what brand /types to take, but no worries, just make sure that the one you pick meets your needs. Also, make sure that it contains either whey hydrolysate of whey isolate as these are fast absorbing proteins.
Creatine Monohydrate – Building muscle takes a lot of work so we want to maximize our results if we can. Creatine Monohydrate replenishes your creatine stores and helps to fuel your muscles during grueling workouts. It works at the muscular level to help increase strength, power, energy, and endurance. It’s a good idea to take creatine with some fast acting carbs that spike insulin leverls which will pull creatine right into your muscles. There are many different types and flavors, but I stick with good ole Micronized Creatine and mix it in with my pre-workout, although you can take it post workout if you prefer. There are differing opinions on whether you need to have a loading ohase and if you need to cycle off of creatine. I personally don’t use a loading phase or cycle off, so do what works for you.
Dextrose – Using dextrose post workout is a great way to replenish glycogen stores. Dextrose is just a simple sugar and it promotes muscle recovery and gets you back on your feet faster after an intense workout. I have just started using P90X Results and Recovery Formula post workout and I can really tell that it makes a big difference in my recovery time during my Body Beast workouts. The best thing about P90X R&R is that it doesn’t have any artificial flavors or sweeteners and tastes like and orange creamsicle. One word of caution though. Make sure your glycogen replacement fits into your daily macros.
BCAAs – Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs are absorbed directly into muscle tissue and then metabolized rapidly. There are 22 different amino acids which all serve specfic functions. Our bodies do not synthesize several of them and they must be supplemented. BCAAs play major roles in muscle building, recovery, and energy metabolism. I take BCAAs both pre and post workout when my muscle tissues are hungry for amino acids. They come in many forms including pills and powders so it is up to you on what kind to take. The brand I am currently using is Xtend by Scivation which comes in some really awesome flavors. I also like to use BCAAs as an intraworkout supplement.
Preworkout – Some people use them and others don’t, but I love using a pre-workout supplement to get the most out of my early morning workout sessions. Pre-workouts are designed to help maximize mental focus, energy levels, oxygen flow, and the “pump”. Over the last couple years I have tried numerous brands and flavors, but currently I am using Cellucor C4.
Do you have to have all of the above to get great results? Absolutely not! That’s why they are called supplements and not essentials. You have to determine what fits into you budget and works well for you. I will be continuing with the current stack for a while because I like the results I am getting. Keep at it team and don’t forget that you can’t outwork a bad diet so keep that nutrition dialed in!